More Tips to Survive the Inspection from Hell


posted by on Especially for Rookies

A few days ago, I posted a blog about the importance of actually ATTENDING your inspections with a buyer client. I was stunned when I purchased my first out-of-town home and my Realtor did not attend the inspection, especially since I couldn’t be there. My respect and appreciation for him took a huge hit and I never referred anyone to him.

Anyway, in my twelve years of selling real estate in historic neighborhoods, I’ve gotten pretty darn good at holding my hard-fought deals together through the sometimes brutal inspection periods. When you work with 100+ year old homes most of the time, it’s rare to sail smoothly through the inspection process. So, you get good at it, or you fail. I once had a string of 25 sales get through inspection and to closing without falling apart which must be some sort of record in this market!

So, here are some of my secrets to surviving inspections…

  • ATTEND your inspections (see yesterday’s blog)
  • Never, ever belittle your buyer’s concerns. Never say “Well, it’s an old house, you can’t expect it to be perfect.” Your buyer isn’t an idiot, he knows that. The minute he thinks you’re trying to talk him out of being concerned about an issue, he’ll feel you’re more interested in your paycheck than in his purchase. You’ll lose his trust, and thus, his future referrals.
  • Take your directory of contractors with you to the inspection. If issues arise, it’s helpful to have phone numbers on hand to make phone calls on the spot for answers. For example, in one of my inspections last week, we came across an asbestos tile roof (in 12 years I’ve never heard of such a thing). The inspector expressed serious concern about it and my buyers were freaked out. I was able to call my roofer and get more information about asbestos roofs which put everyone’s mind at ease… and the inspection continued. I also had the phone number of my insurance agent with me, so we were able to call him to ensure that an asbestos roof was insurable (it is).
  • If you don’t have a handyman on call, make this your top priority. You MUST have a great handyman in your back pocket to be a great real estate agent. I often call my handyman during inspections with a question and he’s been known to even drop everything and rush over to check it out… thus putting my buyer’s mind at ease or at least making me look fantastic.
  • If an inspection goes poorly, let your buyers sleep on it. Inspections can be exhausting, but after a good night’s sleep, your buyers may feel much better.
  • When preparing an inspection notice for the seller, never, ever use inflammatory language. Just state your requests clearly and succinctly, without embellishment.  For example, instead of saying “Seller shall repair the leak under the kitchen sink to avoid further mold and mildew damage to the cabinet, flooring and possibly the basement ceiling.” Simply say, “Seller shall repair the leak under the kitchen sink.”
  • Keep your inspection requests to as few bullet points as possible. Group your requests into categories; for example, all plumbing issues go under one bullet, all electrical items under one bullet.

It can’t be emphasized enough… always support your buyer, not your paycheck, no matter how badly you need that paycheck. Put yourself in your buyer’s shoes and advise accordingly. The brownie points you win by truly being on his side will pay off big time for you; not only in this transaction, but for years to come when he tells everyone he knows what a great Realtor you are.

Go get ’em!